Atlanta efforts to position itself as an international hub for mobile technologies, the Internet of Things and the burgeoning field of smart cities is getting a major boost starting Sept. 11.
The three-day Smart City Expo Atlanta next week will be the first U.S. edition of a series of international conferences on the sector that launched in Barcelona in 2011.
The move follows a pattern that started in the mobility space, where Atlanta delegations traveled to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona for years, building the city’s reputation to the point that it later became the hub for another GSMA conference: Mobility 360 North America.
Trade show operator Fira Barcelona runs international Smart City Expos in Brazil, Turkey, Japan, Mexico and Argentina. Plans are to hold the U.S. edition in Atlanta annually.
As with the other expos, Atlanta’s will focus on translatable global trends that are common to cities worldwide but will also provide a uniquely local emphasis.
The forum will delve into “Redefining Smart,” how technology can operate in service of a more holistic “new smart city,” which incorporates ideas of equity, wealth creation, inclusion and economic mobility rather than simply focus on engineering solutions that make life more convenient.
“Smart City Expo Atlanta is redefining what it means to be a ‘smart’ city. To build inclusive 21st century economies, we must ensure that equity, prosperity, and humanity are on par with A.I., blockchain and big data,” Smart City Expo Co-Founder and CEO Aarti Tandon said in a news release.
The list of more than 200 speakers features mayors and civic leaders from Atlanta and a variety of cities around the country and across the world, along with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, technologists and civic innovators. Some 2,500 attendees are expected, along with more than 50 exhibitors.
Featured speakers include Ambassador Andrew Young, SunTrust Banks CEO Bill Rogers, Atlanta Braves President Derek Schiller, Cox Enterprises CEO Alex Taylor, as well as actor and rapper T.I. and nonprofit leader John Hope Bryant, who will share the stage to discuss entrepreneurship.
Sponsorship of the conference will provide exposure to Atlanta for global players like SoftBank Robotics, an arm of the Japanese mobile phone and technology firm.
Alongside the panel discussions, lightning talks and breakout sessions, the expo will feature demonstrations of new tech in autonomous and electric vehicles, robots, drones and more.
That aligns well with Atlanta’s vision to become a proving ground for many of the same technologies. The city has multiple demonstrations under way in autonomous vehicles and trucks, and some are even calling for autonomous shuttles as a long-term transit option on the Atlanta Beltline. French aerospace giant Airbus picked Atlanta as the headquarters for its drone intelligence unit. Delta Air Lines just this week announced a partnership with Georgia Tech at Curiosity Lab’s 5G-enabled testing ground for autonomous vehicles in Peachtree Corners. Delta sees potential airport applications for such vehicles, from delivering luggage to transporting passengers to tight connecting flights.
Atlanta in 2017 partnered with Georgia Tech to launch the North Avenue Smart Corridor, a network of connected sensors used to better regulate the flow of traffic and improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. The project won the Smart City Expo World Congress’s Mobility award last November, helping Atlanta join the ranks of Singapore, Cape Town and multiple Chinese cities that were honored for various innovations.
The smart-city sector is increasingly becoming a calling card for a city that has other complementary tech-industry strengths like mobility, financial technology and cybersecurity.
“Metro Atlanta has made incredible strides over the past decade. Our reputation for developing cutting edge technologies, including Smart City and IoT innovations, transformed the region into a global destination for tomorrow’s solutions,” said Metro Atlanta Chamber President and CEO Hala Moddelmog. “We’re proud to host Smart City’s first U.S. extension, and we’re excited to see the impact of the conference in the coming years as we all work to improve our quality of life through tech.”
The expo comes in the wake of the smaller Smart Cities Dialogue hosted at Georgia Tech in May, which also focused on inclusive communities and drew a global crowd with speakers from Australia, Canada, France, Israel, the Netherland, Nigeria, Uganda and the United States.
Just last week Georgia Tech Center for International Business Education and Research hosted its 25th annual Georgia Tech Global Business Forum, focusing heavily on issues related to connected communities and the growth of a future-ready global workforce in industries like IoT, urban agriculture, advanced manufacturing and smart cities. That event was held in conjunction with the 10th annual U.S.-India Business Summit.
Smart City Expo Atlanta is still accepting registrations. For more information and the full agenda, visit http://www.smartcityexpoatlanta.com. See the full list of confirmed speakers below:EXTERNAL_Smart City Expo Atlanta Speaker List_9-4_FINAL